Revisiting Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

Essays on Lessons About Self and Community


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About the Book

During its 33-season run, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001) left an indelible mark on millions of children and their caregivers. Perhaps no series in the history of children’s television has done more to develop the identity and ethics of the child. More than a decade after Fred Rogers’ death, he continues to attract an audience online. Yet despite the show’s lasting impact it has been largely ignored by scholars.
This collection of new essays focuses on Rogers’ contributions to children’s lives, to the media and to American culture at large. The contributors discuss his stance on the individual and the perception of self, his ideas about meaningful participation in a community and his use of television. Clearly, Mr. Rogers’ ideas still strongly resonate.

About the Author(s)

Kathy Merlock Jackson, a professor of media and communication at Virginia Wesleyan University, teaches courses in media studies and children’s culture. She is the author or editor of thirteen books and former editor of The Journal of American Culture. She has served as past president of both the American Culture Association and the Popular Culture Association.

Steven M. Emmanuel is a professor of philosophy at Virginia Wesleyan College, where he specializes in the history of philosophy and comparative moral and religious thought.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson and Steven M. Emmanuel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 180
Bibliographic Info: chronology, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7296-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2341-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1

The Performance of the Pastoral (Chris Buczinsky) 3

Social Activism for the Small Set (Kathy Merlock Jackson) 12

Good Neighbors, Moral Philosophy and the Masculine Ideal (Sue Matheson) 24

Grown-Up Work and the Work of Growing Up (Valerie H. Pennanen) 40

Dis-Alienating the Neighborhood: The Representation of Work and Community (Tim Libretti) 59

Fantasy as Free Space: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhoods (Susan Larkin) 76

The Presence of Mister Rogers (Steven M. Emmanuel) 88

A Different Voice: Mister Rogers and the Ethic of Care (Richard L. Bilsker) 105

Community as Emotional Education: Fred Rogers and Edith Stein (Peter R. Costello) 115

Structure and Story in the Operas (Maura Grady) 130

Fred Rogers and the Early Use of Puppetry on American Children’s Television (Mark I. West) 146

Chronology 153

A Selective Bibliography of Works by and About Fred Rogers (Camille McCutcheon) 157

About the Contributors 165

Index 167

Book Reviews & Awards

“the book returns us to the world of a long-running children’s television show hosted by a quiet and unassuming man”—Communications Booknotes Quarterly.